Planned (scheduled) care and emergency (unscheduled) care are known as inpatient care. This includes care requiring overnight stay in hospital as well as care provided through day case services.
Patients admitted to hospital for treatment are normally referred through the Emergency Department or by referral from a GP or outpatient services. The type of care and treatment a patient requires will determine the hospital to which they are admitted. Some hospitals are now specialist centres for treatment and care of certain conditions. For example; Cancer treatment is provided in one of the 8 Centres of Excellence as developed under the National Cancer Control Programmes and Beaumont Hospital in Dublin is the national specialist centre for Neurology Services. Each hospital provides details of the treatment areas of speciality and services they provide.
In 2015 over 1.5 million patients were admitted to public hospitals in Ireland for inpatient care. Almost half a million patients were admitted through the Emergency Department. Over 102,000 patients were admitted to hospitals for planned /scheduled care such as orthopaedic procedures such as hip and knee surgery and other surgical and medical procedures.
The National Treatment Purchase Fund compiles data each month on the number of patients and the length of time they are waiting for inpatient access to treatment. This also includes a breakdown of information by area of speciality.
The HSE National Service Plan 2017 sets targets for compliance with Waiting Times for Inpatient and Outpatient Services.:These include
- Percentage of adults waiting less than 15 months for an inpatient elective procedure:Target is 90%
- Percentage of adults waiting less than 15 months for a daycase elective procedure:Target is 95%.
The National Service Planhas further details and the NTPF monitors compliance with these targets.